Go Back   Thor Forums > Thor Brands and Products > Thor Motor Coach | Class A, Class B+ & Class C Motorhomes
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 09-22-2017, 01:18 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: Maryland
Posts: 26
New Chateau 31E (and 23U vs. 31E)

We just upsized from our 2017 Thor Chateau 23U to a 2018 Thor Chateau 31E. We are just a family of 3, so we didnít really need anything bigger than the 23U, but we have 2 big dogs and wanted more interior space, and a more private bedroom. I also wanted leveling jacks and a power driverís seat. Here is along post highlighting some of the pros and cons of the 2 floorplans.


The 23U was nicer to drive. The small size and short wheelbase made it maneuverable in towns. I could make U-turns on wider city streets and could almost always find a place to park by taking up a couple of spots at the end of a parking lot. It also had no problems going up steep hills. The extra size and weight of the 31E is noticeable. The turning radius is huge, so it can be a challenge to get into and out of some gas stations and other places. It also struggles a little more and downshifts more going up hills.


One thing we miss on the 23U is the Mega-storage compartment. We could put dog corrals, zero-gravity chairs, a screened room, a grill, fishing rods, large storage bins, etc. in that exterior storage compartment. The storage compartment on the 31E is much shallower/smaller, and it is a challenge to stow long or bulky items. We now have to stow some of these larger items inside the RV while we travel. The 31E has several smaller storage compartments, so overall storage volume is not bad, but they canít accommodate the long or bulky items like the Mega-storage compartment can. The 31E has a lot more interior stowage, though, including dresser drawers and closet space, which the 23U didn't have.



The main advantages of the bigger 31E are obviously the extra living space and amenities. The large slide-out gives lots of space for us and our dogs. In the 23U we could not all sit comfortably and watch a movie. We would usually make the dinette into a bed and two of us would lie there while the third person would watch from the rear bed. The 31E has a sofa and dinette where you can see the TV, or we could all watch the TV in the bedroom while lying on the bed (after hooking up a DVD player to the bedroom TV). With just one child we didnít need bunks, but it gives our son his own private space, which is nice. This will also enable us to bring along his cousins and/or grandparents. The bedroom can be closed off for privacy or if I want to go to bed earlier than the others. The corner bed in the 23U was a pain to make and difficult to get into and out of, so the walk-around bed in the 31E is nice, and the night stands are also nice to have.


Itís really nice to have the leveling jacks instead of leveling through trial and error by driving onto blocks. And the power driverís seat really helps comfort on long drives, and also accommodates shorter drivers better.
Iím not a fan of the new frameless windows, though. I guess people like how they look, but Iíd prefer to be able to slide a window open for more airflow through the coach. Iím also undecided about the tankless water heater Ė I guess it means that you wonít run out of hot water, but the water temperature seems to fluctuate more while taking a shower. The new stove with the 2 gas burners and induction cooktop is nice, but you have to use a lighter to light the gas burners. There is no spark ignition like the old 3-burner stoves, and it seems odd that it was designed like that. The new stove is much more solid, though, and doesn't rattle going down the road like the old one did.



The new 31E seems to be of better quality than the older unit. The 23U had lots of niggling little issues, and I usually had to fix something after every trip. We had problems with the entry door not sealing, water coming in when driving in the rain, countertop edges, wallpaper backsplash, mudflaps, drawer supports and latches, and some other small issues. I looked at a lot of RVs at shows and dealer lots, and we always liked the interior design and features of the Thors, but their quality was not as good as some of the other brands. I did notice that the Thor Quantums seemed to be better put together for some reason, and this new Chateau 31E seems very similar to those. The cabinets and drawers all close properly and the finish on them is nicer (although there were still the random bits of wire, screws, zip ties, etc. behind the drawers and cabinets). There are also fewer rattles going down the road. The salesman commented that they seem to be building them more slowly now and quality appears to be improving. The only problems I found at delivery were some expanding foam that had crumbled where some wires pass through one of the storage compartments, and some weatherstripping on the slide started sliding off. These were repaired at the dealership and there have been no other issues.
__________________

jabrabu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2017, 01:22 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Bob Denman's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Outlaw 29H
State: New York
Posts: 821
Thanks for a very thorough and concise review of your new pride and joy!
Go build some happy memories with it!
__________________

__________________
Good Sam Member 843599689
FMCA Member 473304
Bob Denman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2017, 08:18 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Brand: Still Looking
State: Texas
Posts: 2,422
Quote:
Originally Posted by jabrabu View Post
.....cut.....

The 23U was nicer to drive. The small size and short wheelbase made it maneuverable in towns. I could make U-turns on wider city streets and could almost always find a place to park by taking up a couple of spots at the end of a parking lot. It also had no problems going up steep hills. ....cut....

.....cut.....
One thing we miss on the 23U is the Mega-storage compartment. We could put dog corrals, zero-gravity chairs, a screened room, a grill, fishing rods, large storage bins, etc. in that exterior storage compartment. The storage compartment on the 31E is much shallower/smaller, and it is a challenge to stow long or bulky items. We now have to stow some of these larger items inside the RV while we travel.

.....cut.....
Nice review and comparison.

I agree smaller motorhomes can be nicer, easier, and more fun to drive -- everything else being equal. I suppose it's very important though that it be large enough to meet intended use.


I can not agree with you more on MegaStorage. I find it inconceiveable that there are so few American motorhomes offering large MegaStorage exterior compartments. I know it's not for everyone, but honestly can't comprehend why there are not more motorhomes with MegaStorage compartments.

I've been following the 2017 Caravan Salon in DŁsseldorf and it's great to see that many motorhomes (of all sizes) continue to include what they call "garages" that can be in the 60 to 100 cubic-foot size range (rough estimate on my part). They can easily haul bikes, scooters, or even motorcycles. We've rented various Thor-built Class Cs with MegaStorage at very back and really enjoyed the added exterior space. My only wish is that they would make the MegaStorage much taller so that bikes or scooters would fit standing upright.
Chance is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2017, 11:41 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Bob Denman's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Outlaw 29H
State: New York
Posts: 821
Megastorage"?
What's that??


2018_thor_outlaw_29h_lak1415638_10.JPG
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	2018_thor_outlaw_29h_lak1415638_10.JPG
Views:	43
Size:	92.8 KB
ID:	7076  
__________________
Good Sam Member 843599689
FMCA Member 473304
Bob Denman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2017, 02:35 AM   #5
Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Four Winds
State: Ontario
Posts: 55
Very nice comparison.

For your information there is a spark ignitor for the gas stove burners with the induction cook top. At least on mine there is. You need to press the button down for the burner you want to use, then turn the knob. When you press the button you should hear it clicking.

Enjoy
__________________
_____________________
2018 Four Winds 31Y
Peterrrr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2017, 01:11 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Brand: Still Looking
State: Texas
Posts: 2,422
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
Megastorage"?
What's that??


2018_thor_outlaw_29h_lak1415638_10.JPG

Great point. Our toys must be much larger.


There have been some US motorhomes built with fairly large garages for "smaller" toys like bicycles, but to me they seemed rare, and usually integrated on larger motorhomes.

In US it seems there is less middle ground. Toy haulers like yours can handle trikes, a couple of Harleys, or ATVs, but are usually motorhomes close to 30 feet or longer, and have limited living space for their size.

The main compromise I see for Euro garages is that the bed(s) in rear have to be elevated a little, hence not for everyone who can't deal with steps or lower headroom over bed. On the other hand I don't see how it's that different from 5th wheel trailers that often have the bedroom/bed located over a very large storage compartment. Designers could do something similar but on a much smaller scale.

This one is on the large side because MH is also fairly large. Smaller MHs often have them too but scaled down.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_5610.JPG
Views:	33
Size:	196.5 KB
ID:	7079  
Chance is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-23-2017, 04:14 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
JamieGeek's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Axis 24.1
State: Michigan
Posts: 4,525
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterrrr View Post
Very nice comparison.

For your information there is a spark ignitor for the gas stove burners with the induction cook top. At least on mine there is. You need to press the button down for the burner you want to use, then turn the knob. When you press the button you should hear it clicking.

Enjoy
Huh? An induction cooktop doesn't use gas: It uses coils below the surface that induce electric currents in the pan causing it to heat up. Its 100% electric.
JamieGeek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2017, 01:00 AM   #8
Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Four Winds
State: Ontario
Posts: 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieGeek View Post
Huh? An induction cooktop doesn't use gas: It uses coils below the surface that induce electric currents in the pan causing it to heat up. Its 100% electric.
Correct. Did say , "there is a spark ignitor for the gas stove burners with the induction cook top". The key word is,"with". Here is a picture of the unit.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_20170923_204529[1].jpg
Views:	33
Size:	96.8 KB
ID:	7086  
__________________
_____________________
2018 Four Winds 31Y
Peterrrr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2017, 02:47 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
JamieGeek's Avatar
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Axis 24.1
State: Michigan
Posts: 4,525
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterrrr View Post
Correct. Did say , "there is a spark ignitor for the gas stove burners with the induction cook top". The key word is,"with". Here is a picture of the unit.
Wow! Never seen that: Both.
JamieGeek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-24-2017, 03:40 AM   #10
Senior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2017 Windsport 29M
State: Indiana
Posts: 2,848
The dual cooktops are fairly new, read about them in an RV article short time ago. Sounded like a good idea to me.
__________________
USMC Veteran
FMCA 101070S

Dave & Myra
One day your life will flash before your eyes,
make sure it's worth watching!
SuperD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2017, 08:04 PM   #11
Junior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: Maryland
Posts: 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peterrrr View Post
Very nice comparison.

For your information there is a spark ignitor for the gas stove burners with the induction cook top. At least on mine there is. You need to press the button down for the burner you want to use, then turn the knob. When you press the button you should hear it clicking.

Enjoy
Yes, I figured that out as I was look through all the owners manuals. There is a battery compartment underneath the range. I installed a battery, and now the ignitor works. I'm surprised the tech at the dealership didn't know this.
jabrabu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2017, 08:13 PM   #12
Junior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: Maryland
Posts: 26
We camped in the new RV this past weekend. Everything worked pretty well. We had the random loose screws appear, which seems to be common in Thor RVs. Most of the electrical outlets were not working at first, but I figured out it was just the ground fault in the bathroom had tripped. The only worrisome issue is that at one point there was water on the floor in front of the dinette. I'm guessing it was condensation from the A/C that worked its way around and under the slide, but I haven't confirmed this.
jabrabu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-2017, 03:04 PM   #13
Senior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: '17 Hurricane 34F
State: Missouri
Posts: 192
to get the large outside storage compartment, you need to keep the bed stationary. Most people want an expanding bedroom, but you can open the room at the closet side and keep the bed fixed. Thor also places the outside kitchen in this area a lot. I suppose they are reading the market, and designing accordingly.
wredman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-2017, 06:16 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Brand: Still Looking
State: Texas
Posts: 2,422
The largest rear compartments I've seen from Thor are when the rear walk-around queen bed is stationary with headboard at back wall of motorhome. I happen to like this layout a lot.

Thor does an OK job with these designs for those who want permanent walk-around bed and don't necessarily want or need an expandable bedroom. The design should also work very well with Twin/King beds like on Axis 24.1.

The main issue for us (and a few others I'm sure) is that these layouts (or similar) aren't offered in smaller motorhomes. At present I can find the Class C Chateau 28Z and Class A 31Z that start at close to 30 feet in length, and go larger from there.

The other difference compared to Euro-style "garages" is that they are not as tall nor have a flat load floor. That makes loading bikes, scooters, or motorcycles less practical. Thor has manufactured a few motorhomes with large and tall garages in rear, but they were fairly large front-engine diesels. We looked at a couple of these but they were so large and so noisy.

I suppose they could be reading the market, but as far as I know they haven't tried a large and tall Euro-style garage in a smaller motorhome. Given that most European motorhomes have one, why not give it a try? Even if offered as a cost-added option.

This is picture of bike garage from larger 31Z. Not ideal in my opinion.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_5622.JPG
Views:	22
Size:	37.5 KB
ID:	7140  
Chance is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-2017, 09:37 PM   #15
Junior Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
State: Maryland
Posts: 26
Yeah, I really liked the 31Y floorplan with the longitudinal bed and large exterior storage, but my wife was pretty set on a bunkhouse.
jabrabu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-2017, 01:14 AM   #16
Member
 
Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: Four Winds
State: Ontario
Posts: 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by jabrabu View Post
Yes, I figured that out as I was look through all the owners manuals. There is a battery compartment underneath the range. I installed a battery, and now the ignitor works. I'm surprised the tech at the dealership didn't know this.
Good to know that it is triggered by a battery. I gather my dealership put the battery in. I sort of assumed that it would have run off of 12 volts. The fellow who did the PDI with me, said they had nothing to test the induction cook top with. I guess they will have to get a pot for the future and boil some water on it.
__________________

__________________
_____________________
2018 Four Winds 31Y
Peterrrr is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by



ThorForums.com is not in any way associated with Thor Industries or its associated RV manufacturing divisions.


All times are GMT. The time now is 08:33 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2